Name: Valarie A. Schlosser

Age at Diagnosis: 49

My story begins when I was admitted to the hospital on Saturday, February 21, 2015. Two days later, Monday, February 23, 2015; I had to have emergency surgery, a Laparoscocpic Appendectomy (Appendix Removal), Colorectal Surgery (Colon), and a Full Hysterectomy. Which was because I had a colonoscopy on the day before, Sunday February 22, 2015, and the results were that I had a tumor the size of a lemon and it was bleeding. I needed to have a blood transfusion just to prepare me for what was to come.  I was diagnosed by my oncologist with Cancer of the Colon stage 3b and will undergo, chemotherapy for 6 months. Well it’s been year and a month now, and 20 rounds of chemo. My treatment consists of, FOLFOX it is a chemotherapy regimen of several different drugs and Leucovorin. It is typically given through injection or IV into a port in the chest. FOL(Folfox) = Leucovorin Calcium (Folinic Acid) F = Fluorouracil OX = Oxaliplati.

People with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or offspring) who has colon cancer have two to three times the risk of developing the disease. My brother lost his battle in June of 2010, his was not detected in time.

April 6, 2015 I had my first Pet Scan, and the results were not what I was hoping for, there were mets around my liver and my bladder, this increased my stage to stage IV. Me, here I am, 49 years old, a divorcee, mother of a beautiful 21-year-old daughter with stage IV Colon Cancer. At that moment my life changed. I had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. I reached out to a few place on a list that I was given when I was released for the hospital. The only one that made a connection with me was Carol Orr from the Colon Cancer Alliance. That phone call and that day changed my life forever as well. It brought me hope, and comfort to know that I was not alone.

I’m current enrolled at Kaplan University, taking on-line classes for my paralegal degree. I had an expected date of December 2015, for completion. That date has change due to my diagnosed. I had to take two terms off and now have an expected graduate date of May 10, 2016. Initially, I was supposed to return to work on April 21, 2015, but that was not possible, I had more complications. A blood clog traveled up my leg in to my left lung. I was hospitalized and while reviewing the CT scan they noticed that my port catheter was collated and need to be removed. I was there for a week and with the continued amount of treatment I was given full disability. I live alone and have no other means of income, other than family and friends. My financial obligations are still very apparent, the stress of my financial obligations can slow the process of my healing.

I can say today that I’m very Blessed! I’m NED and have been since October 1, 2015. “No evidence of FDG-avid malignancy for skull base to mid-thighs”. It’s a fight that I fight daily and with the help of the Florida Cancer Specialist, Dr. S. Shah and team along with the Colon Cancer Alliance I will continue to win! We must continue to get the word out that early screening can save a life.

Thanking you in advance for taking the time to read my letter, I will in turn keep you posted on my progress.